Page images


So far as we are aware, the importunate outcry of Mr. Broun did not avail him much. But it was not unattended with ultimate fruit. The evils that men do live after them, and in this case the good also lived. Mr. Broun's cry for justice, although it waited long for an answer, did at length produce the desired result—but to another person. In 1874, under the administration of Lord Beaconsfield, Her Most Gracious Majesty was advised that the Baronets had right on their side; and right at last obtained its

Ludlow Cotter of Rockforest, eldest son of Sir James Lawrence Cotter, 4th Baronet, was, on attaining twenty-one years of age, presented by his father to Her Majesty, and was thereupon duly knighted in accordance with the Letters Patent of the Baronetcy, and agreeably to precedent. The right so strenuously fought for by unfortunate Mr. Broun and the Baronets of his time, has therefore been publicly recognised by the highest authority in the Realm, and the position taken up by the Order in 1842 is on this point free from attack in future.

There are, nevertheless, many reasons which would render a revival of the Committee of 1842 desirable and useful. The hasty manner in which of late years the Chivalrous dignity has been bestowed on the first-found plutocratic grocer, or brewer, is a serious wrong to the older Baronets -men of position and weight in the Social scale. Again, the attempts made by divers Statutes to interpose new Judicial officers between the Baronial rank of the Peerage and the Baronets, to the disadvantage of the latter, should be stoutly resisted. The Letters Patents of Baronets limit the persons who shall intervene between these two ranks ; but an attack was made on this prerogative by the Statutes 53 Geo. III., C. 24, S. 4, and 5 Vict., c. 5, S. 25, which let in the Vice-Chancellors of the Court of Chancery to rank before Baronets.

These Statutes have, however, been repealed. Another not uninteresting question concerning the precedence of Baronets will doubtless occur some day. By the terms of the Letters Patent constituting the older Baronets of England and Great Britain, it is directed that the following Judges shall take precedence of the Order, viz., the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, the Master of the Rolls, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, the Chief Baron of the Exchequer,

and all and singular the Judges and Justices of either Bench and the Barons of the Exchequer, of the Degree of the Coif, for the time being." Of the Degree of the Coif, signifies one who has been created a Serjeant; the Degree of Serjeant, when joined to the Judicial appointment, being deemed to be entitled by virtue of its high honour to rank above the Order of Baronets, but only, be it observed, when those two honourable distinctions are united. The Judge of the Court of Admiralty, for instance, although a Judge of a Superior Court, had not the Coif, and therefore always ranked after, and not before Baronets.

In 1873, on the passing of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, it was enacted (Sect. 8) that no person appointed a Judge of the High Court of Justice, or of the Court of Appeal, should thenceforth be required to take or to have taken the Degree of Serjeant-at-Law. The result of this new law is well known. No Judge has, since it has been passed, applied for the Coif; and the ancient Order of Serjeants has practically ceased to exist. For all purposes of Common Law and Equity, for all purposes of Procedure and Practice, a Judge without the Coif is as good a Judge as one with the Coif. It is for Social purposes that a difference exists: and umbrage might properly be taken by a Baronet if not accorded his due precedence before those Judges who are not of the Coif, on State occasions, or in the presence of the Sovereign. The present Lord Chief Justice of England has the Coif, but independently of that

he takes precedence as a Peer, so his case is not in point. The Honourable Mr. Justice Denman is a Serjeant, so are Barons Pollock and Huddleston; but Mr. Justice Hawkins is not, and the same is the case with the other Judges of the Queen's Bench Division, viz., Justices Stephen, Mathew, Cave, Day, Smith, Wills, Grantham, Charles, and those more recently appointed. Nor would it, we submit, be in the power of Her Majesty to confer the lost preeminence on those Judges who have failed to attain the Degree of the Coif; for the Letters Patent emphatically declare that, “neither We nor our heirs or successors will hereafter create within our Kingdom of England any other Degree, Order, Name, Title, Style, Dignity, or State, nor give or grant place, precedence, or pre-eminence, to any person under or below the degree, dignity, or state of a Baron of Parliament, who shall be superior or equal to the dignity of a Baronet, nor shall any person under the degree of a Baron (except those previously excepted by the Letters Patent) by reason of any constitution, dignity, office, or other thing whatsover, now or hereafter, have, hold, or enjoy place, precedence, or pre-eminence before a Baronet.”

The Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 have been fertile in creating new Judicial officers; but the fact that the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are constituted Barons for life, saves the appointment from being de jure that which it is de facto, viz., a new and dangerous attack on the precedence of the Order ; for it is, as above pointed out, against the grant of the dignity of a Baronet that new degrees or titles should be interposed between his Order and the Peerage.

Further, it is fully recognised by Legal writers that the Common Law requires a party to an appeal, or to an indictment, to be described by his Degree, if he be of the Knighthood or of higher Dignity. And the Degree, whether it be of ancient or of new creation, as that of Baronet, ought to be added to the name of baptism and surname. Indeed,

says Hawkins (2 Pleas of the Crown, cap. 23), the Law was so particular in this respect that if a plaintiff in an action gained a new name of Dignity, he caused the Writ to be abatable.

In these latter days, therefore, when attacks are imminent, and levelling is the order of the day, it would seem to behove the Baronets, as well as all other grades of Nobility, sedulously to guard against all innovations; and to band together to resist all attacks, whether by land or by sea, and whether emanating from the stump orator or from the Senate House.




Tit. II. (continued).
Of Persons concerned in Maritime Commerce.


Supercargoes.* ART. 649. Supercargoes perform the functions on board which are conferred on them by the shipowner or shippers ; they keep an account and reasons for what they do in a

Spain is apparently the only European country which has special legislation for this class of officers. A supercargo, however, is frequently carried when unusual or peculiar commercial transactions have to be conducted, or sometimes when a ship is chartered, but, her officers being in the service of her owner, the charterer desires to have a servant of his own bound to protect his interests. Rapid postal and telegraphic communication all over the world diminishes the need of the former class of supercargoes, whilst the appointment of agents for the charterer wherever the ship goes renders the presence of the latter less important. The “purser,” generally carried in large passenger steamers, has certain duties in respect of cargo analogous to those of a supercargo.

book,* which fulfils the conditions and requirements of the captain's account book, whom they obey as commander of the ship.

The functions and liabilities of the captain cease when there is a supercargo, in respect to that portion of the business legally assigned to the latter, but remain in all affairs which are inseparable from his authority and position.

650. All the provisions contained in Book II., Tit. III., § 2, relative to capacity, method of contracting, and liability of factors are applicable to supercargoes.

651. Supercargoes may not, without special permission or agreement, do any business on their own account during the voyage, beyond the venture which is allowed them by the custom of the port for which the vessel sails, nor can they bring back on the homeward voyage more than the venture produces except by special permission of their principals.


Contracts Peculiar to Maritime Commerce.


(1.) The Form and Effect of Charter Parties. 652. A charter party must be drawn up in duplicate in formal documents signed by the contracting parties, and when either of them does not know how or cannot write, by two witnesses at his request.

The charter party will, in addition to the conditions freely agreed upon by the parties, contain the following particulars :

(1.) The description, name, and tonnage of the ship. (2.) Her flag (nationality) and port of registry.

* See ante, Art. 612 (3).

« PreviousContinue »